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Greetings from Vienna, #26

June 15th, 2004


In this issue:


Old Business

Vienna Calling[1ost]
Some of you received a version of the last issue with the subject: "Greetings to Vienna". Karin thought that it was very nice for me to greet the Viennese readers of the newsletter, but I must admit that it was a typo. However, not to forget anyone else, greetings to everyone reading this in Austria, Germany, the USA, Australia, Mr. & Mrs. Calabash, and all the ships at sea.[2usa]


Greetings from Vienna,
Part the Twenty-Sixth: Happy Semi-Anniversary

OK, technically, last issue was the semi-anniversary of this newsletter, since #1 was sent back on December 5th, but not to quibble. We've come a long way since the text- and email-only first issue, but I hope to continue adding improvements, and more items from Karin for the upcoming issues.

House Update
As I predicted in the last issue, we patched the hole which previously connected the attic to the stables. You can see the two final steps:
IMG_4711_attic_hole_concrete IMG_4722_attic_hole_foam
There is a piece of rebar within the concrete, and there is a small ledge in the hole, making the top third is a bit wider and longer. So the concrete patch fits in the hole like a sink plug, and we don't need to worry about it coming loose and unexpectedly dropping into our new living room/bedroom.

And in the meantime, my father-in-law had also poured the concrete sub-floor in the kitchen/bathroom:
And while the concrete has set up enough to walk on, it won't be really set for another two weeks. After that, we'll be putting up the interior walls for the bathroom, as well as starting to put in bathroom fixtures. I think we will have to go tile shopping for these two rooms (the living room will have a wooden floor). The other thing that will need work is to organize the electrical wiring, circuit breakers, and the electrical cabinet in general. That's another task which my father-in-law will do mostly on his own. If we end up settling in Austria, then I'll have to get some hands-on experience with 240v circuits.

Now, some of you have been asking me about the layout of the new place, but more of you want an idea of the whole property that we're moving to, so here is a panoramic photo taken from the northwest corner of 59 Fischauer Gasse, Wiener Neustadt:
Our three-room re-model can be seen in the middle of the picture, on the yellow building with the green gable (with the ladder just underneath). That building extends to the back corner of the property, which is approximately 21 meters (east/west) by 20 meters. The wood shed blocks the view of the workshop, which will be our front patio. Karin's grandmother lives in the southwest part of the property, though with only a small south-facing window and no western ones, as those walls are right up against the neighbors' houses. I'll try and got a floor plan for the whole house into the next issue, and then you can see how it's all laid out.

New ditch? What new ditch?
My father-in-law has been sneaking in some infrastructure work on this job. I've already mentioned the new drainage pipes, which were the reasons for ditches 3, 4, and 5. Well, we are inadvertently having to dig ditch #6. More precisely, I am digging ditch #6. The original plan was a simple one. The pipe for the tap water is at least 40 years old, at least the section which connects the water meter by the door to the distribution connectors. My father-in-law decided that we could replace this section with new, flexible, plastic pipe. From the connections at either end, he believed that the pipe laid inside a larger conduit, so it was just a matter of disconnecting the two ends (after shutting the water off) and pulling out the old pipe, though this latter part is complicated by the fact that access wells to this pipe (which is 1.2 meters below the ground) aren't very wide. But that just means that we'd have to cut the old pipe into sections to get it out.

We should've known that something was amiss when the pipe would not budge after being disconnected at either end. It wouldn't turn and it wouldn't move forwards or backwards. We now go to plan B, which is to expose a section of pipe and conduit in the middle of the run to check for breaks or unexpected bends. If you look at the last photo, the pipe runs along the right hand side of the yard, from the water meter that is directly below where the photos was taken from, to just behind the plants on the right, which is about ten meters away. The section I dug up is right next to the green, concrete mixer. After a half a day of digging, I excavated a hole about three meters long, by 60 centimeters wide, by 1.2 meters deep.

This is when we found the pipe. Just the pipe. No conduit. At this point, we're committed to replacing the pipe, and we have to get it done by Saturday, when Karin's grandmother returns from her vacation, and the water to the house has to be back on. So now I have to excavate another six meters all the way down to the old pipe to get below the frost line. Plus, I have to avoid breaking through the pipes from ditch #5, which crosses this pipe, but at half the depth, meaning that I'll have to undermine about a one meter section. Needless to say, I'm bring extra aspirins.

Random Picture
This is the frog that lives in the pond at my in-law's house.


Until next week, when I hope to wrap up my ditch sagas, once and for all.


Bis Bald,



[1] "Vienna Calling": This is, of course, a reference to the Falco hit song by the same name.

[2] "Mr. & Mrs. Calabash": This is, as far as I know, a Jimmy Durante reference. Durante was an American radio personality, singer, and actor who was active starting around the 1920's. I believe that he got his start in vaudeville. The "all the ships at sea" line comes from early radio announcers when they read the news on the air.



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